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Okanagan restaurants hiking prices in response to food costs, labour challenges

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Okanagan restaurants hiking prices in response to food costs and labour challenges – May 16, 2022

Expect to pay a little more the next time you eat out.

Some Okanagan restaurants are reporting they’ve raised prices, or plan to, in response to rising food costs and the competitive labour market.

Read more: As inflation surges, Canadians find creative ways to save, cut costs

Data shows it’s part of a national trend.

“Definitely everything is going up. We are noticing a huge rise in especially our chicken wings. Chicken is definitely on the rise, for sure. So we, in exchange, have to raise our prices as well,” said Lori Marshall, the acting front-of-house manager at WINGS Tap & Grill.

Read more: Inflation calculator: How do rising prices affect your personal finances?

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To keep up with inflation, WINGS Tap & Grill has raised some menu prices by 25 cents to a dollar.

“Our clientele is still coming in supporting us which is really nice. They do notice the price difference but they understand,” Marshall said.

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It’s a similar story at The Okanagan Eatery, a Vernon restaurant that specializes in all-day breakfast.

“[Food] price increase has been quite big lately. For example, we’ve been open for just about a year now and our bacon has doubled in cost alone,” said Chelsea Enns, co-owner of The Okanagan Eatery.

Enns’ family-owned restaurant expects to raise prices by about 25 to 50 cents per item before the summer.

The rising cost of food is a major factor and staffing shortages in the region have also had an impact on the business’ prices.

“We are looking for staff but you have to hire starting around the $19-$20/hr [mark] just to get them in the door because everyone else is offering about $17/hr. That being said, we do have to pay a premium for the staff we do have so we have raised our prices a little bit within this year to cover those [costs],” Enns said.
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Read more: ‘Painful summer ahead:’ Gas prices reach 211.9 in Metro Vancouver, expected to rise

The latest data from Statistics Canada show the Okanagan restaurants are not alone.

Nationally, in March, the price of restaurant food was up 5.4 per cent compared to the same month the year before.

Food prices for consumers at the store have surged even faster. They were up 8.7 per cent in March compared with the previous year.

Read more: Okanagan employers struggle to recruit, retain employees amid labour shortage

“It is always changing so we will change with it… if it keeps continuing to raise then unfortunately we’ve got to match that,” said Marshall.

Marshall noted the business also expects to lower prices if their costs drop.

For now restaurants passing their increased costs on to customers is yet another way Canadians are seeing their purchasing power decrease.

Click to play video: 'Okanagan employers struggle to recruit and retain employees amid labour shortage' Okanagan employers struggle to recruit and retain employees amid labour shortage
Okanagan employers struggle to recruit and retain employees amid labour shortage – May 3, 2022

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